News items around domestic abuse, with a campaign to equip frontline public sector staff to recognise domestic abuse, plus funding increases for rape victims, and a call for case studies around a legal protection for abuse victims compelled to crime.

Agenda has launched a campaign to ensure staff in public services ask about domestic abuse

Victims and survivors of domestic abuse may access a range of public services – from the health system to social services. These services have a vital role to play in recognising the signs of abuse and ensuring survivors get the support they need.

The campaign calls for a duty to be placed on public services to ‘ask and take action’, with training provided to frontline staff around recognising and acting on domestic abuse.

You can join the campaign on the Agenda website, where there is also research on this topic.

 

Legal protection for domestic abuse survivors

The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) has been seeking legal protection for domestic abuse survivors driven to offend and is looking for supportive case examples. Trafficking victims have a legal defence when they are driven to offend, but there is no equivalent protection for domestic abuse survivors. PRT is calling for a statutory defence to be added to the Domestic Abuse Bill. The government was considering the proposal before the election was called, and any comments or supportive case examples would still be appreciated.  Please email these to the Ministry of Justice via  nareyhersey@justice.gov.uk and copy in Katy at the Prison Reform Trust: katy.swainewilliams@prisonreformtrust.org.uk. You can find out more on the Prison Reform Trust website.

 

More funding for rape and sexual assault victims

Victims of rape and sexual assault will be helped by a further £5 million for specialist support services. Justice Minister Wendy Morton MP announced that it is part of ongoing government efforts to ensure victims get the help they need and restore faith in the justice system.
The move will see a 50 per cent increase in the money available – up from £8 million to £12 million per year – for a range of services across the country, including tailored face-to-face support and counselling.

£1 million will be invested into recruiting more Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs), who provide advice and support for victims, acting as the link between police, support services and criminal justice agencies. New national minimum standards for ISVAs will also be developed to ensure victims across the country receive consistent, high-quality support.

See the Gov.uk press statement.